Trollin’ on the River

I’ve been playing in the internoodles long enough to remember the original definition of troll. That was when you had a group, say Fluffy Bunny Chat, where everyone was chatting about Fluffy Bunnies 24/7.  Then along came a new poster Mr. Foxx, who would start a chat like this: “A recent study done by Harvard medical researchers shows that exposure to Fluffy Bunnies causes schizophrenia in mice. The human study was aborted after 6 hours when 2 of the participants got into a violent altercation with the one of the researchers. She is hospitalized with a broken arm and a bruised kidney. Some people have begun a petition to ban Fluffy Bunnies and send it to the President.”

This of course would cause a huge flame war among the Fluffy Bunny chatters. People who had been previously cordial to each other would erupt in vicious tirades about whether the ban was justified or not, who Mr. Foxx actually was, should he be hunted down, should animals be used in studies, and on and on. People would get so upset they’d leave the group. Sometimes they’d return under a new name and resume arguing. Or they’d create a “sock puppet” name to agree with themselves. The group might flame out because people would begin arguing about everything else that came along next and it just wasn’t fun any longer. Mr. Foxx, of course, would have been long gone, probably moved on to a new group using a new name to wreak similar havoc.

Mr. Foxx was a consummate troll. He hit and ran. Most likely he checked in on his work, but he didn’t post again to contribute to the back and forth nitpickery and flaming. That was the original definition of an online troll. But it began to evolve. Soon, we started to call “troll” at anyone who hung out in a group and posted mostly grumpy, contrary things, either original posts or replies, even though we could have simply called them a grouch, an irritant, or an asshole, any of which would have been more accurate, since they didn’t cause flamewars or destroy the group.

I think what we were getting at though is the “troll” was “trolling” for responses to his (or her) supposedly contrary stance on an issue. If everyone in the group agreed that the sky was blue, the troll was apt to say, nah, it’s slate. Cuz it’s always fun to be the special lil snowflake. I’m not like everyone else, so there! He’d be more likely to get a reply than someone who agreed with the majority. Oh, look at you, attention whore!  That accusation became ridiculous in a group full of writers, since we all were obviously wanting some sort of attention for our writing or else why the hell were we writing in public in the first place? As far as groups of non-writers, I think it still stands. If you’re posting/commenting in public and don’t want any attention… then why are you doing that? Perhaps a wee bit of self-examination is in order.

However. The new breed of troll is nothing like those harmless nuisances (n.b. I have on occasion played the harmless nuisance type of troll myself). They don’t pop on a group with a silly fake essay in hopes of inciting arguments among the pearl-clutchers. They don’t act like grouchy contrarians among friends to feel special. No. They deliberately and precisely set out to hurt people, usually women, who have already been victimized. And of course they are overwhelmingly male. Here is an interview with a few of these despicable creatures. And a quote about why they like to go after women:

“Well yeah it is because women are generally weaker,” Mark says, “they are more easily offended and easier to anger and stuff like that.”

Mark excuses his actions by blaming women for being victims in the first place. He says these aren’t “random people” because they’ve already shown weakness. So, he’s like an internet lion clearing the place of sick gazelles, yah? He’s the epitome of what we used to call the no-life loser posting from his mommy’s basement. I mean really. Does he not have anything better to do than kick people who are already down?

Professor Del Paulhus from the University of British Columbia was one of the authors of a study about people like Mark. It found that “internet trolling correlates strongly with the so-called dark tetrad of personality traits: psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism and sadism.” Except that people like Mark are ultimately cowards; they would never say boo to anyone in person. Otherwise they would already be out there insulting people in public, not spending all their free time trolling for online victims, yet staying safe behind their screens.

Also, this article is interesting because of the leftwinger interviewed. Craig says he trolls center-left people online, not righties. And this will be no surprise to those of us who are in the center-left ~ we’ve experienced for a long time the vitriol of the far left online. They target us for their frothy rants, believing us to be soft and easy, while they leave the right alone, because they’re out of reach. Sorry, I’m not a piece of taffy you call pull over to your loonytoon fringe in either direction. And especially not if you’re being a complete asshole about it. Let’s see that’s worked now, um… never. But why not try again for the billionth time?

What do all these trolls have in common though, even the worst ones, such as Mark? They will die from lack of response. “Don’t feed the trolls!” That used to be a common saying in newsgroup “netiquette,” not that many paid attention to it. But it was true then and it is true now. You can’t stop someone from posting a nasty, hurtful reply. You can ban some keywords, swear words, racial epithets, but people will find a way around all that. You can’t filter for sadists. They’ll get through at least once and probably more often, if they’re they least bit clever, and most are. You don’t have to use bad language to be cruel. In fact, you’re more effective if you avoid it, since using swear words makes you sound emotional, while a true sadist should sound coldly controlled at all times.

I have never responded to trolls here at Light Motifs. I don’t have to ~ they immediately get shitcanned and I ban their IP. If they show up with a new IP, I ban that one too. First responses always go to moderation, so I don’t have to worry about someone new getting into a flamewar with my friends before I have a chance to deal with it. If for some odd reason, an approved commenter begins to go rogue, I’ll deal with that pretty quickly and ban them if I have to. It’s only happened a few times though. This isn’t YOUR free speech zone. Get your own blarg. That said, I have gotten into it with “trolls” in other venues. I try not to these days though, since it’s such a waste of energy. If possible, I block them as soon as I realize what I’m dealing with (even if I see them acting up with a friend). I highly recommend blocking anyone who annoys you on Facebook and elsewhere. Why waste your time interacting with them? Pointless.

Anyway. Here’s Lindy West on why she occasionally “feeds the trolls.” I like what she says, even if we disagree on some things, and her book sounds interesting. Truth is, I’m not going to buy it, not going to pay full price (even full Kindle price), because I think that’s rather outrageous. I’ll wait for a used version. I’m much more budget-conscious these days. Ffs, barely anyone bought my books, even at their super-low prices, so pffft.

Troll

Just Desserts

Due to the National Spelling Bee this week, there has been a brief interest in spelling, which has caused the Google map of the most commonly misspelled words by state to trend.

California’s is desert. So is Idaho’s, Indiana’s, and Connecticut’s (I thought they were smarter in CT). I assume they’re all spelling it dessert, which reminds me of a funny I wrote on alt.writing… something about voices in the dessert. That’s all I remember though, and I could go hunt it down and show it to you, but why? It wouldn’t be funny now.

What’s more interesting is the phrase “just deserts.” It means getting what you deserve, not a bunch of rotten pie, though I suppose you might deserve that. In any case, “Just Desserts” is a title I was holding onto for a romance novel, but I don’t write them now, so feel free to steal it. I don’t even remember what I was going to write about. A sexy baker?

Alaskans don’t know how to spell Hawaii, and Hawaiians can’t spell “boutineer,” which is how Google ironically spells boutonniere on their map.

Four states can’t spell cancelled: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island. I think it’s RI anyway ~ hard to tell where the pointer is pointing. I’m not sure how they’re all misspelling it, or that it should have the double-ell. English is confuzzling.

Google says South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Michigan don’t know how to spell shades of gray. I’m starting to wonder about Google actually because I bet those peeps are spelling it grey, which is totes fine.

Montana, Wisconsin, and Maine need to brush up on vacuum; while Washington, North Carolina, and Missouri choke on pneumonia.

Here are the rest…

Hello? It’s me. My cousin got diarrhea from that banana croissant your niece brought to the leprechaun party.  No, it wasn’t from the broccoli and I don’t appreciate your attitude. I would like some courtesy please. My brother is a maintenance sergeant, and I guarantee that he would not like to hear about what happened in February. Thank you. And I need you to pick up your giraffe today at your earliest convenience because he’s getting ornery and sticking his tongue out at my beautiful neighbor. No, it’s not possible for me to bring him by tomorrow. I have a very full schedule in Massachusetts, where apparently they can’t even spell the name of their own state. I know, right?

Spelling

Ain’t Missing You At All

I meant to remember the last time I played Words With Friends and my last stats, but I don’t. I meant to take a screenshot to share, but I didn’t. So… at some point after my last blarg rant about how much I hate ridiculously obscure words and the follow-up Facebook whine about “words” like shh and psst and brr (funny how Word doesn’t recognize them as words), I decided I was going to quit the game. I’ve quit before, but that was only because I switched to Scrabble and WordFeud and didn’t want three word games on my phone at once.

This time was for realzies. No more online/phone Scrabble-type games at all. I’m tired of being annoyed over them. I finished the games I had in progress and declined new ones. I explained why to my friends. Strangers received no explanation. Some of the games took a looooong time. Due to the fact that I’d been playing so many at once, I hadn’t realized that some people took forever between moves, sheesh! Three days, four days, a week. COME ON ALREADY. Finally, I let two of them go. Ridiculous.

In total, I’d played around 2000 games and won about 1500 of them, but my percentage wasn’t 75, it was more like 68, so idk what. Maybe I’m misremembering something. In any case, that’s a high percentage when you’re playing with excellent opponents, as I was. Winning 2 out of 3 to 3 out of 4 games consistently is not an easy thing to do. But I don’t remember the exact number, even though while I was playing I knew it out to the third decimal. And I’m not re-downloading the app to check. Eff that noise. I was so thrilled with myself the day I deleted all that crap from my phone and Facebook. What a relief! The whole thing was becoming a horrible burden.

I now understand what my father meant when he explained why he finally quit smoking: it was just a huge annoyance, even when he felt like he needed to keep doing it several times a day. He’d light up a cigarette and smoke it, but it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. That’s what happened to me. I’d be like ugh there’s a 6 on my app icon, better see what’s going on. Take my turns, make some words, win some, lose some, accept new games, bla de bla. Are we done yet? Two hours later check again.

Now, I still love playing real Scrabble, but in a relaxed way, which means with friends who are chatting and laughing and having fun, and where we’re using the Scrabble dictionary to check words before our turns instead of challenging. This doesn’t mean poring over the dico for obscure bullshit words, which is something I detest, and is another reason I hate online games ~ you can keep trying oddball letter combos until one hits even if you know nothing of words. Yuck. And I don’t like playing with timers ~ that’s stressful for me, and games should be FUN. Deadlines are for work, not play.

That isn’t to say I won’t play any timed games ~ I play plenty of them. Taboo is one of my favorite games. But there’s something particularly irritating about the smacking of timers in Scrabble and chess that ruins the game for me. Plus it precludes chatting. I know some people like the adrenalin rush of timed games, but I’d rather lower my stress levels during downtime. (On the rare occasions that I play chess, badly, I also like to meander through that game in a super-relaxed, untimed way.)

Anyway, what reminded me of WWF was this Slate article about professional Scrabble players in Nigeria. What a complete turn-off. This takes every bit of the fun out of the game. I’d never want to attempt to memorize a dictionary and play the way they describe. I play because I love language. Using brute force memorization and scoring techniques turns Scrabble into a game of Battleship between robots. What’s the point? Bleh.

Life Is Too Short To…

1. Watch most videos offered up online with the exception of kittens and otters. This goes triple for anything political, unless it’s parody/satire. Maybe.

2. “Play” with trolls because it’s “fun.” It’s actually not. Maybe it once was, when I had less awareness of how little time there was to enjoy all the good things in life, but there’s too much else to do now. Trolls and other assorted online jerks get blocked, no warning.

3. Read bad or even mediocre books. Outside of school, there’s no reason to finish a book I’m not into. I’m finally over that particular OCDness, whew!

4. Watch a movie I’m not enjoying even if recommended by a friend. If it’s not good at the start, eff it. There are a zillion movies I haven’t seen, and many are within my Prime plan. Speaking of, last night I impulsively watched I Smile Back starring Sarah Silverman, who I don’t really like as a comedian because too vulgar. It was damn good. Made me cry, repeatedly.

5. Do things I don’t want to do. Seems obvious, but… many of us have had an unfortunate habit of saying yes when we really wanted to say no.

6. Feel guilty about cancelling plans when I’m not feeling well or have put too much on my emotional or logistical plate. (See no. 5.)

7. Click more than once or wait through a dumb ad to read a stranger’s article, essay, blogpoast, etc. Don’t make this difficult and/or irritating, online sites, or I’ll ghost ya.

8. Eat yucky food. There are plenty of delicious foods to substitute for yucky ones. I was going to use kale as an example of yucky, but my daughter actually made a tasty salad of it on my birthday weekend. (The key is super-fine chopping.) So, I’ll go with asparagus, grapefruit, black licorice, and tapioca. Ewwww.  There are more items obv, but I don’t need to list them all. You get the point.

9. Seek out new music. I just don’t GAF. I have plenty of old music to enjoy, and it’s better anyway. If I happen to stumble across a new tune and it’s good, fine. But I’m not going to get all excited and go yootoobing the artist, because CBA. Too many books and movies to deal with.

10. Not indulge my inner child as often as possible! 👸🍦🎉🎲😄

 

Worlds Collide [Dating Story]

[Names and some other specifics changed to protect identities.]

Some time ago I met a man on a dating site. Let’s call him Walter. He was a teacher. We chatted on the phone, made a plan to meet at a local cafe, yada. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in person that he was a nice-looking guy who seemed smart, funny, etc. Then he looked out the window and said, “Hey, there’s my roommate!”

I saw an elderly lady walking slowly down the sidewalk. “Her?”

“Yeah, the old lady!” Walter laughed. “A couple years ago I answered her ad for a roomie because I didn’t have much money after my divorce. We hit it off and have been together ever since. This is our second apartment together.”

“Oo-kay.” The woman was probably around 80; Walter was my age, around 50. “Doesn’t that interfere with your social life?”

“Nah. We have our own rooms and bathrooms. Sometimes when I have a date we all watch TV together in the living room. It’s totally cool.”

Walter and I hung out for a while longer and I asked him why he broke up with his last girlfriend. “Skyler was a wealthy divorcee,” he told me. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day, but I had to work. Eventually she got really clingy and wanted me to move into her house.”

“But that seems ideal,” I said. “Or… didn’t you want to leave your roommate?”

He shrugged. “I like my life the way it is.”

Walter asked me out again, but his sitch with the roomie was just too weird and I declined. I didn’t understand what was going on there, plus Walter didn’t seem like he wanted any kind of serious relationship in the near future. I don’t like to date just to date. End of.

Around six months later I met a new man on a different dating site. Let’s call him Hank. I really liked this dude. We chatted, made plans, yada. In person, he was even better. Very smart, very funny. I had high hopes for this. We went to a nice sushi place for our first meeting, not a boring coffee date. It was all going really well, I thought. Then I asked him one of my standard questions: what happened with your last girlfriend.

“She was a wealthy divorcee,” Hank said. “Traveled a lot and played golf all day. That’s not really my lifestyle. We were together only a couple months.”

“That’s funny,” I said. “A guy I met a while back said the exact same thing. And she asked him to move in.”

“So did Skyler.”

“Oh, my God! It’s the same person!”

Hank stared at me. “The teacher who was living with the old lady?”

“She told you about him?”

“Yup. He was really weird.”

“Haha, I thought he was too. I only met him the once.” The conversation was so odd. Hank had dated, for a couple months, the woman that Walter had been with for a while. It was so bizarre that I’d picked both of them out of dating sites. Did they have a common quality that attracted Skyler and me, or was it all a logistical coincidence of ages and locations? I felt very awkward and uncomfortable for a few minutes, pondering this while keeping up normal chitchat.

But the rest of our date went fine, I thought. No problems. I had a good time. Hank seemed to as well. We hugged and said we’d stay in touch. And we did, a little. But he never asked me out again.

Time passed. Finally I emailed Hank and said hello bla bla and hey why hadn’t we gotten together again?

Hank said that was a good question and it deserved a thoughtful answer.

But I never received one. Or any answer at all.

The end.

Chinese Checkers, Intro

Chinese checkers

This is one of my most favorite games, but it is not Chinese, nor is it checkers, according to my impeccable source Wikipedia. “Chinese Checkers” was a marketing scheme.

Chinese checkers is a board game of German origin, for two to six players, each player at one “star corner.” Or two players at three corners, if ya wanna get all crazy. My mom and I played 3 and 3, so that’s my favorite way. Each corner uses one set of 10 marbles, and each set is a different color.

The object of the game is simple: move your marbles from the starting corner to the one opposite you. Easy peasy. You can move one space each turn, and a move is diagonal. You may also jump marbles, and you can jump multiples, so it benefits you to find/create a path for as many moves as possible. There is nothing stopping you, or your opponent, from jumping over any color marble, so any path created may be used by any other color.

The above pic shows an insane game of two players with 3 triangles each, all marbles in play, fighting their way through a giant traffic jam in the center of the board. One of the players was yours truly and the other was the Left Handed Dragon. I don’t remember who won (OK, it was me), but I do remember that it was fun fun fun!

Some of my peeps don’t care for Chinese checkers. It’s not a word game and it doesn’t have a fantasy world to play in. There aren’t castles or treasures or trains to set up and there are no cards to draw. No dice to roll. No timers. No counting or guessing or obscure trivia knowledge necessary. But it is definitely a strategy game and it’s tough to set up a path in the most favorable way, so you don’t end up with an orphan marble at the end, limping across one space at a time. G’wan, try it. G’wan!

 

Tuff Week

I haven’t been superbusy; I’ve just been in pain management mode. This entails much muttering to self and accomplishing nothing but slogging to work and back. Ergo, poor Light Motifs has suffered from apoastitis.

Peeps who aren’t interested in boring, whiny, complainy migrainey poasts may want to scamper off to a more interesting site now ~ here’s a linky for you.

When I’m in pain for a while I become more forgetful than usual. Since I’m aware of this, I make extra sure to write everything down at work, but as far as anything else… shrug. I’m talking really basic stuff like forgetting to drink water when I’m thirsty. I know, right? But it’s true. I’ll have a thought, hmm, I’m thirsty, should get some water. [an hour later] I’m thirsty, did I get any water yet? No. Wow, that’s dumb, should really get some. Water is so good for peeps. I don’t drink enough… [phone rings; a half hour passes] Hey, did I ever get any water? Sure am thirsty… but it’s only an hour until lunchtime, so I’ll just have water then. No point in getting any now.

That’s how I go the entire morning with nothing to drink, which is bad for my condition yet I am stuck in this weird mindset of not doing anything about it. I need to get (today) a big hipster water bottle, put some lime or whatever flavor in it, and keep it at my desk so I can guzzle liquid all day. Caving into that trend finally because otherwise I’ll repeat the above tomorrow and every workday, which is beyond ridic. Some things are fixable, if I’d quit being stubborn.

I was reading earlier about some of the good (non-druggie) ways to reduce the stress that leads to or worsens migraine pain for some of us, and naturally I’ve been forgetting about them too, even though I knew about some already. In particular, I’ve been forgetting about acupressure point L14, which someone showed me years ago and actually helps, if you do it hard enough so it hurts.

Years ago I quit chewing gum because I stupidly became “addicted” to cinnanom gum and fried the inside of my mouth. After I recovered, I didn’t buy gum anymore, forgetting that the reason I was chewing it was because it helped with headaches. Last weekend I bought some peppermint gum… and then every day left it on the kitchen table and didn’t bring it to work. Every day. Now it’s in my purse.

Can’t cuddle wif Gatsby at work, but that’s the first thing I do when I get home. It always makes me feel better. Lucky for me he’s not a dog and he likes hugs and cuddles (I don’t believe that thing about dogs, btw). Of course, he only likes them on his terms, which is me on the floor, not him on my lap, but I can deal with that.

Deep breathing and mantras are good too. Watching funny vids not so much. Too risky that there’d be annoying sounds. Dunno about fractal patterns. I like ’em, but would they help a migraine? Forced smiling, eh. Sex, meh. Certainly not with another person. Gah! Nothing more stressful than dealing with some annoying man. Even if the sex was good, he’d stress me out afterward about something or other. Bleh. Just thinking about it is giving me a headache.

Breathe breathe breathe.

Anyway, I hope to have lots of nice poasties for you soon. Hang in there, my peeps!

Blues and Browns

When I impulsively dropped out of college at age 18, I needed to get a job and had very little cash. So, I carefully bought some office clothes to mix and match: blue skirt, white blouse with blue and brown pinstripes, brown skirt, brown pants, beige sweater. Brown pumps. After my first paycheck, I added to that tiny basic wardrobe with more of the same in coordinating colors. Blue pants, white sweater, etc.

I worked in the claims department of a large insurance company typing up livestock losses ~ dead cows and pigs on the way to market for which they’d reimburse the insured. This was super depressing, but you didn’t think about it after a minute because the idea was to process as many claims as possible each day. I became good at it, and basically blanked out for hours. Then at lunch and on breaks, I’d tune back in and chat with peeps.

One of my cow orkers was a woo lady who nearly had a master’s degree in psychology. She worked in the asbestos claims department, sorting through mountains of paper. She was super-cool and smart and could write with both hands at the same time and do all sorts of neat tricks. She thought I was interesting, even though I was only a 19 year old unformed blob, and she’d stare at me and say weird things.

“Blues and browns,” she’d observe with a nod. She commented several times on my color choices.

I thought she was being critical. I assumed she meant I was overly conservative in my dress for a young person, but it was only about money ~ not having a lot and trying to make the pieces go further by mix-matching. I didn’t think, at the time, I’d chosen the blues and browns for any particular reason. It didn’t seem important and woo lady’s speculative looks annoyed me. The blues and browns had no deeper meaning! Sheesh.

Her words stuck with me though, and later, when I could spend more freely, I bought wilder colors, not caring if anything matched anything else, and I ended up with a closet full of ridiculous things. By the time I was a young mom, I had lime green leggings and fuchsia sandals, turquoise tee shirts and sunflower yellow cardigans… it was all a mess. I didn’t buy anything black or white or boring. No! It had to be crazy colorful. No browns or blues, natch.

But then I went back to work. For a while, I incorporated the cuckoo clothing into my ensembles, but as I slogged through my mid-40s I began feeling aware of my age. I got rid of my lime boots. And the hot pink shoes. The turquoise pants. Over time, my closet began to resemble a normal working woman’s. I wear black a lot, simply because it’s convenient. But I’ve also been gravitating back toward… blues and browns. They make me feel good. I don’t know why. They just look right together. Brown pants, white or beige top, blue sweater… the perfect combo. The blacks go nicely with the blues and whites too.

And then the other week I went to Crystal Cove Beach on my birthday, took pics with my family. Changed my Facebook profile and cover photos. Well, there it is. The sand, the waves, the rocks, the sky.

20160430_152927

Woo lady was on to something after all… and the colors did have a meaning I was unaware of at the time. Was I yearning for a coast, there in Chicago? I don’t know. But I’ve never been back to the middle. I like it here on the edge just fine. Sand and waves and rocks and sky.

No Name Kitty

There was a kitty who lived in our parking lot. A nice neighbor, Christine, provided food, water, and shelter for him. He had a cozy bed and a covered bed too. I kept a bag of treats in my car and gave him a handful a few times a week. Sometimes he disappeared for a few days, but just when I thought he was gone for good, the next morning I’d see him snoozing under a car as I left for work.

He wasn’t a pretty cat ~ small and sturdy, black and white, but mostly dirty. I often said, “Hi kitty, you need a baff!” He wasn’t amused, nor did he ever come close enough to be touched. And he didn’t meow; I’ve read that ferals don’t. Meowing is something that tame cats learn to do to get attention from people. (Gatsby is a champion meower.) But he did know me and would stare at me sometimes as if to say, ahem, you haven’t given me any treats in a few days… whassup with that?

Last night there was a note on the main door: Christine had called animal control that morning to have the kitty put down. He had been attacked by a raccoon in the night and was severely injured. She asked us to please close the trash bin lids to discourage the raccoons from coming around since other cats prowl around the back of our apartment complex. I didn’t even know we had raccoons! Sometimes I hear horrid shrieky noises in the middle of the night, but I just assume that’s people having sex.

Poor kitty. I cried for him. I imagined him trying to defend the parking lot from a herd of vicious raccoons. They’re so huge and nasty! What was he even thinking? He should have just stayed under a car. And now I’m worried about the 2-3 little black cats back there ~ how could they possibly deal with raccoons? I hope they have sense enough to run away. I also know that people are simply not going to close the trash bin lids when they get full. That’s just how people are. We probably need another bin anyway, since the two we have get overstuffed.

I don’t know how old no name kitty was or what kind of life he had overall. But for the 3+ years I’ve lived here, I suppose he’s had it pretty good for an outside cat, until now. The lifespan for an outside cat is only 4 years. Nature is cruel and savage, always has been. Cats, eagles, snakes, raccoons… I’ve seen/read a lot about nature last few days. Can’t get these images out of my head now. Only the thinnest of walls separates us from savagery at any moment.

Thank you for patrolling our parking lot, no name kitty. RIP. ^..^

Rainbow

 

Holiday Gripe

Most of us have a holiday or three we like to complain about. Many peeps bitch about Valentine’s Day, though I rather like it, even when I don’t have a sweetie, which is almost always. Mmm candy! Others crab about Christmas because all that shopping and cooking, blech. Sounds exhausting. But I get to enjoy your lights and cookies without doing any work, neener. Suck it, David Duke.

I would like to whine about Mother’s Day though. First, it’s such a contrived, ridiculous “holiday,” designed only to sell greeting cards. There’s no other point to it whatsoever. We should be nice to our mother every day and if we aren’t, well, that’s a problem for our psychiatrist to deal with, not IHOP. Second, when you’re a mom with little kids, it’s a big pain in the butt. Let me explain.

First, you have your wee ones coming home with some cute stuff they made in school “for mom” ~ OK, this is sweet and you display it or whatever. Then, if your mom is still around you are twinged with guilt about getting a gift for her, so you run out or go online and grab something you didn’t budget for and she doesn’t need to make the twinge go away. Next, if you’re lucky enough to be married or togethering with a man, he’ll feel obligated to “do something,” because of the relentless media barrage, so he’ll either create some mess in the kitchen you’ll spend hours cleaning up after, or else he’ll take you and the kiddos out to an overpriced overcrowded annoying brunchy thinger. It really won’t be much fun, but you’ll have to pretend to love it, and so will he, which will mean a repeat the next year.

When the kids are older and buried in their phones, you can have a more civilized leisurely luncheon or early dinner at home with your elderly mom (parents), sans gifts, which is lovely, but you don’t need a Hallmark card holiday for that, do you? Just pick any Sunday.

Father’s Day is an entirely different animal. No one needs to make a silly craft or go to a noisy brunch. You can buy a card if you want, but no dad really cares. Dads are quite happy when you don’t buy them “presents” with their own money ~  just ask one. Let them do whatever they want all day, like always, and make them dinner. Whoopie.

Back to moms. I’m debating seeing the Mother’s Day movie on Mother’s Day this year, even though it’s getting horrible reviews. Why? Because I love Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson (not Julia Roberts so much, but whatever), and also I have nothing to do that day and don’t want to sit around feeling sad about missing my mom. It would be just another day in the middle of my Sad Season (anniversaries, birthdays, death days, etc.), which is almost over, thank goodness, except for the endless MD marketing reminding me to be sad this weekend and don’t forget! I could, theoretically, get a cupcake afterwards to help dissipate the feels.

After this, the next sad day is Mom’s birthday in early June… and then all good until next Sad Season. Thanks for sticking with me and my morose poasts.